Apple's goal with iOS 15 was to help Apple users stay connected, find more focus, use intelligence, and explore the world. With iOS 15, Apple has gone above and beyond with more streamlined features to make using your iOS products more enjoyable than ever before.
While a few of these features (check out the new and greatly improved FaceTime features specifically) are long overdue, I am still happy they've been released in 2021 and excited to use them, even if I do think Apple should have released them long, long ago.
If you are tech savvy and excited about iOS 15, consider trying out the iOS 15 public beta on your iOS products!
Apple calls the new FaceTime, "more natural, comfortable, and lifelike," with spatial audio to make calls feel more realistic, as if your friends or family were right next to you. FaceTime with iOS 15 includes wide-spectrum sound as well as the following features:
- Grid view- See people in the "same size tiles."
- Portrait mode- Blurs the background and "puts the focus on you!"
- Invite links- Send a FaceTime link, make an event to add to your calendar, and include your friends who have Windows or Android products.
- SharePlay- Listen to music together, watch movies and tv shows together, share your screen with your friends, or present applications. Because iPhones allow you to have multiple apps open at once and while on a call, this feature seems easy and convenient, but long overdue. Apps like Google Meets and Zoom have been doing this forever. Of course, if you have tons of Apple products, this feature is great and more convenient than competitors since it coordinates with Apple apps. Some participating apps include HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus, TikTok, and more.
- Photo Stacks and Collages- Send photo Stacks, Collages, and even react to your friend's collages or stacks. All of this and more are available with iOS 15.
- Shared With You- Organizes and catalogs recently shared articles, playlists, photo stacks, etc. What's great about this feature is that it directs you to the apps they reference. So, for example, if a friend shares a photo collage with you in messages, the collage will appear in your Photos application. If they share a news article, you can find it in the News app.
Working remotely is hard. Those of you who weren't remote before the pandemic, unfortunately, learned just how challenging it can be along with dealing with a pandemic. Apple had this in mind with iOS 15, intending to help work/life balance and help iOS users "be in the moment."
- Notification Summary- This can be delivered when it is convenient for you, scheduled for a specific time of day. Don't worry, you can still use DND and see your friend's messages. Now, when in DND mode, there is a status update at the bottom of the Messages app. This lets your friends know you are busy and won't receive their message right away.
- Focus- Can choose to be notified by only certain people, for example, allow work emails in while keeping personal messages out. You can even focus based on function (like if you are working out).
- Live Text- Point Camera at a whiteboard, tap the live text button, and your iPhone will turn that written text into text on your iPhone. You can even use it to look up info and get more information. It's so intuitive that it can even recognize pictures of phone numbers so you can click and call directly from the Photo app. You can even find out more about books, flora, and an animal's breeds this way (see a cute dog you just must have and want to know the breed?). Spotlight can even use this feature to make photos easy to find. It works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
- Spotlight- Not only can Spotlight use live text, but if you were to search for a friend, it will give you an in-depth list of information like never seen on iOS. Get their contact information, shared pictures, message threads, and more in Spotlight on iOS.
- Photos Memories- In the "for you" section, see animated title cards with relevant songs that bring the "memories to life" and are more "interactive." You can pause by pressing and holding it anywhere on the screen. You can swipe to review a specific photo. You can even make changes by changing the "intelligent" music suggestion, filters, and more. -Wallet- Apple states their goal is to "replace your physical wallet." With iOS 15, add Disney Park Passes, Keys (Keys came out originally with iOS 14), and more. Now, keys can include your home key, work key (corporate badge), hotel keys (Hyatt Hotels for example), and now IDs. This Fall you will even be able to scan your driver's license to be added to Wallet. To take it one further, TSA is even working on accommodating this feature).
- The weather app background will be more relevant to current weather conditions, including more accurate "sun direction, clouds, and precipitation".
- Also added are indexes so you can get more information about those weather conditions.
- New Map is now being released to new countries: Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Australia.
- Apple built an interactive globe to view and navigate to new areas. Maps will offer more details including elevation, road colors and details, labels, buildings, landmarks, and even nighttime mode. For me, this means not passing, since landmarks will be included and I tend to be better at recognizing landmarks more than road names.
- You can pin your favorite transit routes.
- The Map app can even scan the buildings in your area to help you find your way to your destination. Totally 3D and awesome. Even better, they plan to continue taking this further in future iOS versions. Yay!
- Conversation Boost- This feature can help you to focus on the person in front of you when chatting. You can also reduce ambient noise. This is meant to assist with minor hearing impairments or in noise-polluted areas.
- Announce Notifications- Siri will be able to "read important, time-sensitive notifications" to you via AirPods and pair this with your Stay Focused feature if you have DND turned on, etc. Siri can even read you your grocery list while shopping. Definitely using this one!
- Find My- With AirPods Find My now has a better proximity view, separation alerts, etc., much like Find My functions with Apple AirTags. They even use the same secure Bluetooth method that AirTags do in Find My. I guess Apple saw how well these features worked with AirTags and decided to apply them to AirPods.
- Spatial audio- Spatial Audio will now be available on tvOS when using AirPods or AirPods Max. It will also be used on Apple Music with Dolby Atmos, available today (June, 7th 2021)!
- Memoji- New outfit options! Hello, better dressed Memoji me!
- Safari- Voice search!
Apple announced iPadOS 15 stating their goal is to make iPadOS "even more capable and more intuitive" for Apple users. Truth is, what we really wanted was a multiuser function for iPad, so that every member in our family can use the same iPad with their own data and preferences. While we didn't get that, I'd say some of the features were still pretty cool. Is it more capable and intuitive? You be the judge and let us know in the comments below!
iPadOS 15 features
- Widgets- With iOS 15, you can "place widgets among the apps on your home screen." Bring up the widget gallery and add new widgets (the Find My app, for example). The "new larger format" (large-sized widgets) have been adjusted to iPadOS due to the iPad's bigger display (versus an iPhone's smaller display).
- App library- Now on iPad is the app library! Access to the app library is on the iPad dock with iPadOS 15. You can now hide pages, like on iOS, and reorganize them.
- Multitasking- A new "easy to use" control is available with iPadOS 15. Tap at the top of your app to bring to view the multitasking menu and enable split view (then open the other app and it will go to split view). Swipe to chose a new app, press, and hold an app to open it in the forefront without closing other apps. Tap to quickly switch apps in the app switcher (you can create a split view here also). Apple's goal with better multitasking goals is to "be more productive and do even more."
- Notes- Mention someone in a shared note to send them a notification. Activity view- see activity in a shared note while you were away. View tags to find a specific note. Quicknote- This feature is supposed to let you "capture information anywhere." You simply swipe from the lower right-hand corner to make a quick note like a phone number. When done, swipe back to the same corner to close it. You can do all of this in the forefront without closing the currently open apps. Swipe through quick notes to view the most recent Quick Notes.
With iPadOS 15, you can now translate on iPad.
- Write- You can even practice handwriting in the new language you are learning! I will be using this one for sure! Languages are hard work.
- Auto translate- iPadOS 15 detects when you are speaking and in what language.
- System-Wide translations- Translate anywhere and on any product. Totally fluid from product to product.
- Live text- Translate text in a photo to help make learning that language even easier.
- Swift Playgrounds- Learn to code! Build apps on iPad! Code can be immediately reflected in the live preview of your app. This one is huge for developers who are new at starting out or currently in college.
We all know Privacy is a big deal with Apple. It's something they continuously talk about each and every WWDC. Sometimes, they are concerned about privacy to a fault, making processes like account recovery harder than any password reset should ever be.
Luckily, Apple has made some much-needed improvements to, as they say, "keep your personal data under your control." Check it out!
Marketing emails use invisible pixels to track information about your mail activity. Apple gently reminded all of us at the WWDC21, that we are being tracked without our knowledge or permission. Their goal is to give you "transparency and control over your information" with these new features:
- Mail privacy protection- Hide your IP addresses, locations, etc. that may be collected and tracked by the senders. Also prevents the sender from knowing if you have or haven't read the email.
- Intelligent tracking prevention- Hides your IP address and helps prevent cross-site tracking. This way, sites cannot learn your location or profile you.
App Privacy Report
You can see what apps have accessed your information, when they are accessing what information (last seven days), and who your data may be shared with on 3rd party domains.
- On-device speech recognition- Prevents unwanted audio recordings and ensures that your audio recordings aren't leaving your device. More exciting than that, on-device processing means doing things more quickly without overloading Siri. Superfast and I can't wait.
New Account Recovery method
This is probably the biggest announcement of the WWDC21 guys, don't miss it:
- Recover contact list- Create a list of trusted family or friends that you can add as recovery contacts. By adding someone to a recovery contact list, they can get a code during the Account Recovery process, making the account recovery process easier and less time-consuming. This is a huge announcement that will help people avoid long waits with Account Recovery.
- Digital legacy- You can add legacy contacts so that, if you pass, information can be quickly passed along to loved ones without violating your privacy rights. This is intended to make the process much easier and faster for your loved ones after you leave them.
Upgrade from iCloud to "protect your privacy online" and still maintain your storage pan with iCloud.
- Private Relay-Since sites can use your activity to create a "detailed profile about you", Apple made this feature. Browse with Safari using encryption. "No one, including Apple" can see your information.
- Hide my email- create a unique email, that forwards to your real email. This allows you to avoid having to share your email. You can delete these pseudo-emails at any time.
- HomeKit Secure Video- Connect more cameras than ever with the Home app without it counting against your iCloud storage.
Best part? The same prices that are currently offered with iCloud+ that have been offered with previous iCloud storage plans.
- Diverse Siri options- A ton of great new features (new, diverse voices that are more realistic).
Apple states they have thought of "ingenious ways to push things forward" with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, the new watchOS, and the new macOs. Check out the new Health highlights below:
The Corrie App
Medical jargon can be confusing, so The Corrie App is meant to demystify and inform patients with heart problems. It's said to have "reduced hospital readmissions by 52%."
To better monitor your health, Apple created a few new Health app features.
- Walking steadiness- Built-in motion sensors measure how fast and steady you are when walking. They can measure stability and determine if you are at increased risk of falling. This is great for those with medical concerns.
- "Detailed descriptions to help you better understand your lab data" are now available so that patients can see if they are within their "expected ranges."
- Now, certain labs will be described and detailed in ways they weren't before.
Get insight in long-term changes (sleep, glucose, etc).
- Trends are great for celebrating things like daily step increases or other health-related goals.
Share health data
- Share with providers- Health data can be shared with your health care provider. Including data like heart data within the health app. According to Apple, "No one else, including apple, will see this information." You share only the data you want to share and chose to share.
- Health Sharing- Apple wants to "empower you to care for others" with Health Sharing. Sharing relationships are there so that you can view data like heart rate, activity, and recent labs. You can share whatever data you select, and do not have to share all data. You chose who sees this data and who you share it with.
watchOS 8 is really all about health this year (2021). With new apps for working out and being mindful, no doubt Apple Watch users will be more active and fit than ever. Apple also made messages easier to use, which, let's face it, we've all been needing since the first Apple Watch came out!
- Mindfulness- Breathe App has been enhanced to include a cool animation for during meditation. Reflect also provides meditations and affirmation prompts.
- Track respiratory rate- Changes indicate shifts in wellness, so seeing this trend will help notice possible respiratory issues.
- Ti Chi workout- "Meditation in motion." Try new Ti Chi workouts!
- Pilates workout- Try new Pilates workouts!
- Apple Fitness Plus- introducing a new workout series (seven total workouts) with Janet Jenkins.
- New artist spotlight series- Each workout comes with a playlist with featured artists.
- Faces- "Photos face is the most popular" according to Apple. A new portrait watch face basically puts the face at the forefront.
- Photos app- The Photos app has been redesigned to show favorites, featured photos, and memories.
- View- Dictate, scribble, and add emojis within the same view. Way easier than before!
- Share icon- New share icon in the Photos app to share with friends and family.
- Gifs- You can now share GIFs on Apple watch.
- SharePlay with Apple TV- Use SharePlay with Apple TV "seamlessly."
- Apple TV app- Apple TV now has a "shared with you" row.
- For all of you- Make it easier to see what is best to watch for all your family in the "for all of you" row.
- HomePod Mini- crystal clear audio for everything you watch.
- HomePods mini will now be available in new countries and regions within the month (June 2021): Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, and later in the year, Italy.
- Voice recognition- Now HomePod will come with voice recognition for each family member, allowing everyone in the home to use it efficiently.
Home and Matter
- Siri- Siri can be added, for the first time, to more third-party smart home accessories.
- Home Keys- Tap iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock the door
- Starting this fall, ask Siri to watch a recent episode of your favorite TV show or your favorite movie.
- Matter- You can control HomeKit accessories with the Home app and on Apple Watch with watchOS 8.
- Doorbell- Homekit enabled doorbell that can be accessed on Apple Watch.
- Package detection- know when the package you've been waiting on has arrived at your door.
- Multiple cameras- Display multiple cameras at the same time.
macOS Monterey is "focused on helping you do even more" work "fluidly across all devices" by way of continuity and consideration of your iOS and iPadOS products. Along with all the changes made in iOS and iPadOS, macOS Monterey will include the following:
- Facetime changes as shown above with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
- SharePlay addition as shown above with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
- Shared With You as shown above with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
- Focus and Quick Note as shown above with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
- Use a single mac and keyboard to move from Mac to iPad and back to Mac again. Talk about continuity!
- This feature even works with the built-in trackpad on your MacBooks!
- It's very similar to having an external display (or multiple).
- You can even drag and drop data this way!? Best continuity feature I have seen to date.
- Watch a movie or share a presentation. AirPlay to Mac. "Play present and share just about anything" with macOS Monterey and AirPlay.
"Get more done. Faster" with Shortcuts on mac.
- Gallery of prebuilt shortcuts. Do more with less clicking around. Use Siri so you don't have to click at all. Also, macOS users are still able to use Automator in conjunction with Shortcuts.
- Browser- The browser has been reorganized and designed.
- Tab groups- Tab groups have been added to save tabs such as recipes, shopping, etc.
- Tab bar- Apple's new "Streamlined tab bar" is pretty fancy. Tab Groups are part of continuity that can be seen and used across devices.
- iOS tab bar- On iOS, tap to access the tab bar at the bottom of your display.
- Extensions- added to iOS and iPadOS for fluidity per the continuity model.
Apple is going to take a deep dive into developer tech later on in the WWDC21, but, lucky for us, they also gave us a little sneak peek. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
- SharePlay- Making it possible to build shared experiences for iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS.
- System-level enhancements- Voice isolation, portrait mode, etc. that are used for video conferencing apps (FaceTime for example).
- New extra large widget sizes offered with iPadOS.
- New advanced rendering APIs in reality kit.
- Object Capture- New API to turn 2D objects into 3d in a fraction of the time. Take photos of an object with iOS or iPadOS and import them into Cinema 4D to create a 3D model of that item.
- Selling products- Able to use object capture to create a VR version of their products so customers can try out products in their homes.
- AR experiences are available to all developers with MacOS Monterey.
- Concurrency- This is one of the "most requested features" by developers. Allows you to write code that does work in Parallel. Simplified coding!
More will be shared this week at the WWDC21 about this exciting new feature!
App Store features
- App product page- Create multiple and custom product pages. Try different app icons, videos, etc. to create more ways to present your app in the App Store.
- In-App events- See events in the app store for the first time! They can be viewed on the app's product page. Consumers can discover apps with personalized recommendations.
- Xcode Cloud- Xcode Cloud can build the app after code is created, freeing up your mac for other activities. Test results are displayed in code to easily fix mistakes. Xcode Cloud can auto-distribute to testers. Apple claims this is the "quickest, easiest way" to code and create apps. Also, Xcode Cloud will make it easier to distribute beta apps with app products and across all platforms.
- All developers have access next year!
- Limited beta is available today (June 7th, 2021)!
- Pricing will be announced in Fall 2021.
iOS, iPad OS, watchOS, and macOS releases
- Developer betas- Today (June 7th, 2021)!
- Public beta- July 2021 release.
- Public release- Fall 2021.
Check out the Apple Keynote at the WWDC21 here:
Watch the video:
With college semesters approaching right around the corner, it's more important than ever to be proactive in making sure you select the right product for you.